The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula Le Guin

Powerful Essays
In Ursula Le Guin's novel The Tombs of Atuan, she focuses on a young woman named Tenar. Much of Tombs highlight's Tenar's lack of choice, such as being chosen to even become known as Arha, “The Eaten One” (Tombs 177). As Arha, she is inducted into the dark and cruel religion of The Nameless Ones. With the discovery of Ged, from A Wizard of Earthsea, in the Undertomb, Arha's life will never be the same, as she is offered knowledge and choices she had never even known were available to her. Trust and choices are two main aspects of The Tombs of Atuan, and it is through Ged that Arha is finally privy to them.
The darkness of the labyrinth in Tombs symbolizes ignorance and fear, and when Ged arrives with his light he brings with him awareness and change. Tenar's role has often been downplayed into a person from Ged's journey, merely helping him to escape the labyrinth and Ged rescues her. This is a misconception; Tenar has an active role in Tombs, as she and Ged depend on one another to escape from the Place of the Tombs.
Ged was a crucial guide in Tenar's journey to freedom. Recognizing Tenar as a person who was “never made for cruelty or darkness” (Tombs 299), Ged found the good in Tenar, even though she is blind to it herself. He offered Tenar the freedom to grow into her own person. Tenar is shown the truth and reality of the world through Ged. He knows that too much information from outside the Tombs can possibly overwhelm Tenar, and lead her to break down, so instead he is kind and patient, offering her the freedom of choice instead of telling her to take it. Ged knows that people who are not ready for, or do not want, knowledge, cannot have it forced upon them.
While Ged is holding off the earthquake with his magic until h...

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...he Temple that she could find knowledge and balance. Because of that, it is absolutely fitting that Tenar's escape from Atuan comes not through magic, but from trust in Ged.

Works Cited

Clark, Suzanne. Cold Warriors: Manliness on Trial in the Rhetoric of the West. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1988. Google Book.
Jobling, J'annine. Fantastic Spiritualities, Monsters, Heroes and the Contemporary Religious Imagination. New York: Continuum, 2010. Google Book.
Le Guin, Ursula. The Tombs of Atuan. The Earthsea Quartet. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. 169-300.Print.
Le Guin, Ursula. A Wizard of Earthsea. The Earthsea Quartet. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. 12-168. Print.
Le Guin, Ursula. Tehanu. The Earthsea Quartet. New York: Penguin Books, 2012. 479-691. Print.
Le Guin, Ursula“A Left-Handed Commencement Address.” Accessed: November 29, 2013. Web.
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